The AR.IO Testnet


The ar.io testnet is underway! We invite all interested community members to operate a gateway with an observer and join them to the gateway registry so that we can test the benefits and features of networked ar.io gateways at scale. The first major goal of the testnet was the introduction of the Gateway Address Registry, the GAR, and now we’re testing the Observation Incentive Protocol.

Testnet Overview

The AR.IO Testnet aims to support the development of a robust, decentralized network of gateways that will serve as the backbone of the permaweb. By offering IO token incentives, we’re looking for passionate, committed, and capable operators who are willing to contribute to the long-term success of the network. Participants in the program will be empowered to operate a gateway in whatever way they see fit for their use-case as long as it complies with network standards and expected quality of service.

  1. Set up your gateway and observer serviceStep 1

    Head over to ar.io docs and learn how to get started with your gateway.
    Note that you will also need a DNS domain to assign to your gateway.

    Read Docs
  2. Create your walletsStep 2

    You will need two (2) separate wallets for the testnet:

    Wallet 1 - will be used for your gateway and incentive rewards. Note that this wallet will require a small amount of $AR for transaction fees.

    Wallet 2 - should be considered a hot wallet and will be assigned to your observer. This wallet does not require $AR tokens.

    Bring existing wallets or create a new ones using third-party services like ArConnect, arweave.app, or the ArDrive CLI.

    Create Wallet
  3. Submit an applicationStep 3

    New applications for ArNS names are currently closed. Be sure to join the AR.IO Discord to stay up to date on Testnet status and possible future availability prior to launch of the Mainnet.

    Join Discord

What is the GAR?

The Gateway Address Registry (GAR) is a decentralized registry hosted on the AR.IO SmartWeave Contract. It serves as the authoritative catalog of all gateway operators participating in the AR.IO Network. Put another way, the AR.IO Network consists of the gateways that are registered in the GAR. The GAR contains essential metadata about each gateway, including its stake, IP address, and services offered. It is designed to be easily queryable, sortable, and filterable, providing end users and clients with the flexibility to make tailored choices based on their specific needs.

Why are we testing it?

Testing the GAR is crucial for several reasons.

  • Ensure reliability: To ensure that the registry is stable and can handle various types of queries and transactions.
  • Validate data integrity: To validate that the information provided by gateway operators is accurate, up-to-date, and immutable unless changed by authorized parties.
  • Assess user experience: To assess how effectively applications and users can sort, filter, and query the list to find gateways that best suit their needs.
  • Review security: To identify and fix any vulnerabilities that could compromise the safety of the staked assets or the privacy of the users.
  • Gauge scalability: To gauge the system's capability to accommodate an increasing number of gateway operators and end users while maintaining performance.

By rigorously testing the GAR, we aim to optimize its functionality, reliability, and security, ensuring it meets the needs and expectations of both gateway operators and end users in the AR.IO Network.

What are the incentives?

The testnet program offers a range of incentives to encourage participation and contribution to the development of the ar.io network.

  • IO Token Rewards: Specific incentive amounts will vary based on participation levels. While the exact amounts will not be disclosed at this time, contributors can expect to be airdropped IO Tokens based on their contributions once the network and token are officially launched into production.
  • Special Discord Role: Participants will receive an exclusive role on the ar.io Discord server. This role will not grant any special privileges, but it looks cool.
  • Community Recognition: High-performing participants may also be highlighted in community updates, offering additional visibility within the ar.io and Arweave ecosystems.
  • Eligibility for Future Rewards: As the testnet develops, additional incentive programs will be created to reward participation in various other testing and data gathering initiatives.

By participating in the testnet, you’re not only contributing to the robustness and efficacy of the ar.io network, but also standing to gain both immediate and long-term rewards for your commitment and expertise.

Who is eligibile?

The testnet program is seeking users who are dedicated to growing and building on the ar.io and Arweave ecosystems. Anyone interested in operating a gateway is eligible to participate provided that their gateway meets the initial criteria to join the network as indicated above.

What are the technical requirements?

The following are the recommended minimum technical specifications; however, as network nodes are designed to be modular and scalar, we encourage experimentation with all different system types and sizes.


  • 4 core CPU, 16GB RAM and SSD with at least 500GB available.
  • AR.IO nodes can be stood up on a range of equipment / platforms and we encourage experimentation.


  • Linux (Ubuntu specifically) is highly recommended.
  • Support will be available for Mac OS; however, performance may not be optimal.
  • At this time, the team will not be able to provide support for Windows – but – anyone is able to give it a shot!

Connectivity / Network:

  • Ideally, each participant provides a single public facing IP address and port (default 3000).
  • A domain with wildcard DNS support.

What are the overall testnet goals?

  • To create the first instance of a gateway network on Arweave.

  • To test network functions such as:
    • Staking tokens to join the network
    • Unstaking tokens to leave the network
    • Adjusting gateway settings.

  • Introduce the GAR to the ecosystem and experiment with novel use cases such as:
    • Integrating gateway selectors into applications and wallets
    • Gateway discovery and visibility
    • Application to the ar:// URI protocol

  • To lay the foundation for testing future features and protocols such as:
    • Gateway health observation
    • Fetching data from peers
    • Data sharing prioritization
    • Token reward and incentive distributions